Incredible story from San Jacinto Wilderness

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azdesertfather
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Incredible story from San Jacinto Wilderness

Post by azdesertfather » Sep 23 2011 9:09 pm

Just saw a chilling story about a couple who got lost on a day trip to San Jacinto Peak and were out there 4 days trying to find their way back to civilization, only to find at the end the remains of a hiker who was lost there and died there one year to the day before they stumbled upon his belongings. The story ends (and they are ultimately rescued) thanks to some of the belongings the dead hiker left behind that they found and used to get help.

You can watch the "I Shouldn't be Alive" episode (2010 season) by looking for the episode entitled "Date from Hell"

A Backpacker magazine article was written about the whole story here:
( 2018-08-28 dead link removed )
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." — Henry David Thoreau

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PaleoRob
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Re: Incredible story from San Jacinto Wilderness

Post by PaleoRob » Sep 23 2011 10:01 pm

Wow, sounds crazy! I'll have to check it out!
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Re: Incredible story from San Jacinto Wilderness

Post by writelots » Sep 23 2011 10:14 pm

It's a crazy long article, but fascinating...
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Re: Incredible story from San Jacinto Wilderness

Post by azbackpackr » Sep 24 2011 2:54 am

Sounds interesting, thanks for posting.
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Re: Incredible story from San Jacinto Wilderness

Post by autumnstars » Sep 24 2011 7:25 am

Were you watching an "I Shouldn't be Alive" marathon? :D
Great story - thanks for sharing
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Re: Incredible story from San Jacinto Wilderness

Post by azbackpackr » Sep 24 2011 8:00 am

Pretty good journalism, grabs your total attention, BUT written by a journalist who didn't bother to look at a map. Note the journalist's mention that Donovan started hiking the PCT the day after he retired, along with a friend. Quote: "He headed north from the Mexican border with his friend Lynn Padgett, laboring through the hot, undulating Mojave Desert that surrounds the PCT's first 100 miles." Well, I guess that journalist has never hiked the PCT in San Diego County. But I have. It does skirt Borrego Desert, but mostly goes through mountains covered in chaparral, grasslands and oaks, and pine forest. And those areas would not have been sweltering in mid-April, most likely. In fact, April is usually the best time to hike that area.

The Mojave Desert is NORTH of where Donovan went missing, so unfortunately, he never hiked it.

Interesting tale, never-the-less, and I will finish reading it later today. But when journalists make glaring errors because they didn't do their research, I have to question everything they have written.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

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azdesertfather
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Re: Incredible story from San Jacinto Wilderness

Post by azdesertfather » Sep 25 2011 4:54 pm

Another inconsistency between the ISBA episode and the Backpacker article was whether or not the guy from Texas actually found Donovan's body. The ISBA episode says he found it at the beginning of day 4 (the day they got out), the Backpacker article says officials found it 3 weeks after they pulled the couple out.
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." — Henry David Thoreau

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Re: Incredible story from San Jacinto Wilderness

Post by PatrickL » May 10 2014 2:00 am

I finally got a chance to see this and I noticed that the reenactment was filmed on/around Mingus Mountain (minus the phony waterfall shot). They showed the view just east of Mingus that looks north over Cottonwood and out to Sedona's red rock and the San Fran Peaks. Lots of other obvious giveaways, too. I wonder why they chose that location over all of the other possible spots.

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Re: Incredible story from San Jacinto Wilderness

Post by kingsnake » May 10 2014 5:13 am

Nice hotels for the crew to stay in. Kinda like Bear Grylls ... ;)

I was watching a "Date from Hell" on Investigation Discovery the other day. I figured they had changed names to protect the victim (who appeared in the show), but tried googling the town (Salem, MA) and crime type, and came up with nothing. So, I figured the producers may have changed some of the other facts (such as town) as well. It was a pretty horrific crime, so if it happened in a place, you would think it would be in the media, and thus somewhere online. But it wasn't. Guess that is a lesson that when watching a "documentary" type show, like the one above, to take everything with a grain of salt, as visual media seem to be a looser with the truth than print, even if it is only for budgetary reasons ...
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Re: Incredible story from San Jacinto Wilderness

Post by SUN_HIKER » Aug 21 2014 3:33 pm

Wow, gpsjoe and I hiked there. Lovely area.
We had two GPS' between us. I can see that without that or good orienteering skills one can easily get lost
SUN HIKER

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BeachMaster2011
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Re: Incredible story from San Jacinto Wilderness

Post by BeachMaster2011 » Oct 15 2019 3:22 pm

BackPacker Magazine (online last I knew) can be searched for the full story of the original lost hiker that this couple stumbled upon as they sought the escape for themselves. John Donovan, I believe his name was, was not an inexperienced
backpacker and had actually fully hiked the App. Trail back east. He was known, though, as a person who was hopelessly poor at navigation. He was in the process of through hiking the Pacific Crest Trail and had reached high elevation
above Palm Springs, CA, when other hikers were retreating due to the oncoming storm. Donovan retreated too late and attempted, like many according to Rangers, to hike downward toward the lights of Palm Springs. But that route often
catches hikers in cliffs which is what happened to him. He was caught between the storm above and a 100 foot cliff that trapped him. He died of exposure. His notes revealed his crisis. I think the magazine story was the year after Donovan
went missing and the year the couple found his camp. The article is a really well written essay on his crisis and demise.

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